The Sardar of humour and satire, Jaspal Bhatti, became yet another celebrity from Punjab to die in quick succession. He died within four days of famous film director, the Lahore-born Yash Chopra. Only in July, Dara Singh and Rajesh Khanna, both from the world of film and having Punjab as the birth-place breathed their last. They died within a span of a week time July 11 and 18. Like Dara Singh and Rajesh Khanna, Jaspal Bhatti too was born in Amritsar on March 3, 1955. Another famous son of Amritsar is singer Mohammad Rafi, but he died long back––in 1980.
Gurdaspur-born film actor, director and producer Dev Anand, was another prominent Bollywood personality from Punjab who died in December last year; so was Shammi Kapoor who became a part of history on August 14, 2011.
Jaspal Bhatti, the man who taught the people to laugh, left the world in tears around 3:00 AM on Thursday when the vehicle in which he was travelling along with the son, Jasraj, and Surili Gautam, the heroine of his film, hit a tree on the roadside. The accident took place near Nakodar town, some 40 kms from Jalandhar, where he was going from Bhatinda for the promotion of his latest film, Power Cut.
Bhatti, 57, was rushed to a hospital in Jalandhar after the accident where doctors declared him dead. Jasraj, Surili and another person, who was in the car, also sustained injuries.
Power Cut, which he had produced and directed, was to be released on Friday and it was to launch Jasraj. Jaspal was on a 40-day tour for the promotion of this film. The tour was to end on Thursday with a media conference in Jalandhar.
Bhatti, an electrical engineer by profession, shot into fame after TV shows Ulta-Pulta and Flop Show in late 1980s and 1990s. He also directed a film Mahaul Theek Hai, a satire on the police, administration and society, in 1999. It was the first big screen Punjabi venture which he directed and acted as well. The film was a huge sucecess.
Today a number of comedians have come up, but Jaspal Bhatti emerged as a social satirist when only Doordarshan had its monopoly all over the country. In fact he is considered as the pioneer in his field in the small screen.
With Punjab having more than its quota of entertainers, in the death of Jaspal Bhatti the country has certainly lost a man who would bring smile even in the time of tension.